Title: Never Cry Werewolf
Author: Heather Davis
Genre: YA, paranormal, romance
What happens when a bunch of rich gets get sent to camp? Well, apparently they whine, complain, break the rules and basically live up to the nickname, "brat camp". This, a brat camp, is the setting for the cute and a bit heart-warming teen romance.
Things I liked:
1. I got that oh-cute-boy-is-crushing-on-me feeling in the pit of my stomach while I was reading. This is good. It reminds me of the YA novels (particularly Judy Blume) I was reading that eventually led to my obsession with adult romances. It's that same feeling I'm sure a lot of readers experienced when reading Twilight. The budding romance between Shelby and Austin hits just the right way. It's sweet and fast, like all good teen crushes, but still manages to step into that obsessive, stalker trap.
2. I'm a big fan of covers matching something in the novel. This one does not disappoint. Shelby does indeed wear a red hoodie...at night even. The image invokes memories of Little Red Riding Hood stories...which is played up in one very exciting scene. Plus, the girl featured matches the description of Shelby so there is no big stretch of the imagination needed there.
3. I adore her main camp counselor. He's trusting, a little bit naive, and not as jaded or as completely out of touch the other counselors seem to be. He even uses gardening as a way to work through mental problems. Who doesn't love it when a new-age hippy is responsible for your mental health?
4. While the situations are not actually every day for most teens (more on this later), the feelings Shelby experiences while dealing with her family, the campers, the counselors, Austin, and even herself are ones that everyone can identify with. Ms. Davis did very well making this story be first person from Shelby's point of view.
5. I love that the paranormal is not readily accepted in this world. Vampires, werewolves, and the like aren't just accepted into society like they are in many other novels. Being a werewolf is still something to keep as a family secret. No public appearances a la TeenWolf.
Things I didn't like:
1. I'm still confused by the title. Never Cry Werewolf is an obvious play on the phrase "never cry wolf". Which, as far as I know, is a story about not lying. Nope not the case here. Yes, one of the characters does have a secret, but there is never a false werewolf accusation. The other way I can read that title was as if maybe one character was accused of being a werewolf and then in a twist that character (the accusing one) ended up being the real werewolf. But maybe I'm stretching it there. Neither situation fits as far as I know. So, yeah....no clue about that title.
2. Most of the story revolves around characters and a way of life that I couldn't identify with...and certainly most teens wouldn't be able to. All teens in this novel are being sent to camp because they are rich brats from rich families who don't want to deal with them. Your daddy makes money, here go to camp. Your family has built the American paparazzi? Sure, stalk your camp buddies to get juicy stories for daddies paper. Blink. Luckily, the main characters' personality are full enough that this little glitch easily gets lost in the story.
3. The names. What in the world is up with these names? Shelby, Austin Bridges, Price, Randi...for some reason I keep thinking I'm in a John Hughes' film.
4. The counselors / adults are portrayed as either out-of-touch or idiotic. I have it on great authority that not all adults are that way. Not all parents actually are clueless and not all camp counselors are tree-huggers who obsessively play the guitar.
In the end, I was hoping for more from this story. Maybe a Red Riding Hood story, maybe something intriguing that would hearken back to the title. But, that warm fuzzy cute-boy-crush feeling goes a long way towards helping quell the disappointment.